Due to cold weather the Community Sampling Site for COVID-19 testing, located at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, is closing due to safety concerns and specimen integrity. The site is expected to reopen Wednesday, October 28.
Mesa County Public Health recommends anyone who may have been exposed to the virus get tested 7 days after exposure and quarantine for a full 14 days, regardless of test result. Testing is free for Mesa County residents and health insurance is not required.
Although no appointment is necessary, pre-registration will speed up the process once you arrive. Register online at the Mako Medical website. The turnaround time for results is between two to four days from the time the sample is received at the lab.
Additional testing information is available here.
Seventy-four positive cases of COVID-19 were reported to Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) on October 22. That number is nearly double the previous record (44) which was recorded the day prior.
Although it took four months for Mesa County to reach 100 cases, this week 118 cases were reported in a 48-hour period. The increase we are experiencing is not gradual, and not showing signs of plateauing. The dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted MCPH to take action to ensure our community can continue to track, treat, and isolate cases of COVID-19.
“Mesa County’s positive cases have significantly increased over the past month. Most of this is due to informal gatherings between friends and family, and people showing up at work and other places while sick, in some instances resulting in sizable outbreaks,” Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said. Each member of our community can help reduce transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. We must all take action to slow the spread of illness. MCPH urges all residents to:
- AVOID crowds
- AVOID confined spaces
- AVOID close contact
If you are in a situation where these three things cannot be avoided, wear a mask as well as in public indoor settings as required by the current Executive Order.
With case counts exceeding levels allowed, and because mitigation strategies have so far not shown a decrease in cases, Mesa County will move to the ‘cautious’ level on the State of Colorado’s dial. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment assigns levels based on the number of cases in a two-week period, percent positivity, and hospitalizations, all of which are trending upward. Under this new system implemented at the state level, each county is evaluated using key metrics. Communities move between levels based on these metrics.
MCPH and the Mesa County Board of Health are working to draft a local public health order, which will be in effect upon approval.
Since the announcement that Mesa County qualified for the Protect Our Neighbors phase of reopening there has been some confusion about the status and what is allowed under this latest phase of reopening in the COVID-19 response.
Protect Our Neighbors is community-specific, and different communities will be at different phases, based on local conditions and capabilities. Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has advocated for this type of local control, it’s one of the reasons we were among the first to be given this designation. The current local public health order outlines this next phase of reopening. The public health order supports Mesa County’s efforts to continue to open gradually and allows:
- All industries (all types of businesses, establishments, and activities) may operate at 50% of normal capacity.
- Indoor occupancy is capped at 500 people.
Requirements under the public health order include (but are not limited to):
- Use of cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth for interactions where physical distancing is not possible or when entering and moving throughout indoor public places.
- Last call for alcohol sales in restaurants and in on-premises retail liquor establishments can be no later than midnight.
This new phase does not mean that illness from COVID-19 is gone from our community, or that businesses will be able to operate exactly as they did before the pandemic. “We continue to work alongside numerous community partners to ensure our businesses can operate, our students can learn, and our community is healthy,” Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director, Mesa County Public Health said. “We’re working toward a full reopening together, but we’re not there yet. The support of our entire community is essential in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Residents, visitors, and anyone in Mesa County must follow the local order which is not interchangeable with the State’s order. All community members are strongly encouraged to visit the Mesa County Public Health website and read the entire public health order and outlined guidelines that are broken down by industry. We all must do our part to ensure success, and ask all residents of Mesa County to voluntarily comply.
Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to closely monitor case counts as well as illness in our community related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mesa County has had 60 positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed through PCR, or nasal swab, testing. Of the positive cases, 53 are considered recovered, which MCPH defines as being more than 14 days from illness onset, or the day when symptoms started.
Increased supplies and expanded criteria related to who is able to be sampled for COVID-19 testing in Mesa County has increased significantly in recent weeks. At the community sampling site, MCPH tested an average of 55 people per day between May 26 and May 29. In addition, there are several local clinics now doing COVID-19 sampling and testing. Mesa County has also opened more businesses and gatherings of 50 people are now allowed under Phase 2 of the reopening.
With increases in testing and relaxed social distancing measures, MCPH expects to see additional cases of COVID-19. We understand that there is low prevalence of COVID-19 across the community which means that this illness remains a threat and continues to require action from each of us to continue to slow the spread. This week, five new cases of COVID-19 were reported to MCPH with illness onset dates ranging from late May to as recent as June 1. The new cases do not appear to be connected to one another. The majority of the new cases were in adults between the ages of 20-29.
Mesa County remains well prepared to handle an increase in cases. We have a robust infrastructure in place to quickly identify and investigate illness in our community, but the recent increase serves as a reminder to stay the course. We ask our community to continue being part of the solution to maintain low levels of illness in Mesa County. Your actions keep our community safe:
- Maintain 6 feet of physical distance between you and others.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth in public.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Get tested if symptoms appear.
Our community following these reopening guidelines allows us to keep on our path forward.
Visit our website for updated case counts and data from Mesa County Public Health, a trusted and reliable source of information. Utilizing trusted sources helps reduce panic and fear associated with this novel coronavirus. Information is also available on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.
Our Masks are Our Passport to the Colorado We Love
A new campaign encourages Coloradans to wear masks as much as possible when they leave the house, you can watch the public service announcement in the video player above.
In a news conference Thursday, Governor Polis said, “here in our great state, your mask is your passport to the Colorado we love, and will play an important part in keeping yourself and those around you safe. Studies show that men are particularly reluctant to wear a mask, because they think it makes them look weak or uncool. But real weakness is being too insecure to wear a mask and then spreading coronavirus to your family when you get back home. At the end of the day, wearing a mask allows us to enjoy more of the Colorado we love.”
Gov. Polis also signed Executive Order D 2020 092, amending and extending prior Executive Orders concerning non-medical face coverings, to provide discretion to employers and operators of places of public accommodation to deny admittance or service and require the removal of any individual who fails to wear a medical or non-medical face covering. This Executive Order takes effect immediately.